thrice great hermes
by stanley lieber
BEHIND THE WHEEL
Werner couldn’t control himself. His mind rebelled at the touch of its master’s hand. He’d misidentified the source. There was nothing to be done, now.
Werner suspected as much.
He watched himself slowly waking up, consciousness gathering steam in the too-bright morning sunshine that streamed in his bedroom window. The apartment faced east. Werner watched himself get out of bed and draw the curtains.
Coffee was on. Werner watched himself turning off the machine, pouring the dark liquid into his mug. Some outside force seemed to propel him through the motions. Out of control, he continued with his usual routine. Werner watched himself make toast.
At the table he watched himself reading the paper. Which section did he look to first, which headlines caught his eye. Some of his choices surprised him, in spite of himself. The part of Werner that watched Werner watching was not always happy. He sometimes felt powerless to intervene. Werner’s life was a catastrophe. Werner turned the page.
Beyond section three of the paper was a special advertising supplement. Rothco boots. "Not in this lifetime," quipped Werner. He watched himself throwing the paper in the trash.
Local media was full of things like this: fashion, sports, gossip, trumped up scandal, pets, celebrities, ads, births, deaths, legally obligated announcements, market reports, hard news reporting. It all made him nauseous. Werner didn’t watch the news. He insisted on reading his lies on paper, same as he wrote them. Even then, the material was lacking in... Verisimilitude?
He’d forgotten where he was going with all this.